Eloy – A legendary band - Wishevoke

Eloy – A legendary band

One of the greatest, yet most disadvantaged bands in the history of rock music is Eloy. A band that continues to be ignored by Rolling Stone magazine, but also by most of the world’s rock encyclopedias. Eloy, with over 20 records and three decades of music behind them, is a strange mix of atmospheric psychedelic harmony in informal progressive rock forms. Eloy, named after the book “Time Machine” by HG Wells, was founded by Frank Bornemann in Germany in 1969, primarily as a school band influenced by the Shadows and the Beatles.

In 1970 they won first prize in a debut act competition and a year later their first album was released, recorded at the Stars Studio in Hamburg. As Frank Bornemann himself says in his biography, from the beginning they tried to have a very special style that was influenced by progressive rock music, and it took a long time for them to gain their own identity. At the beginning the band consisted of Frank Bornemann (guitar, harmonica, percussion), Erich Schriever (lead vocals, keyboards), Manfred Wieczorke (guitar, vocals), who recorded their albums together with Helmuth Draht (drums) and Wolfgang Stocker (bass). released their first album.
At some point Erich left the band because he had no interest in professionalism. Bornemann takes over the vocals and at the same time leads the band, while Helmuth Draht is replaced by Fritz Randow. They had difficulty defining the style of their music and although they eventually turned to progressive rock, their second album entitled “Inside” was released by EMI’s Harvest in 1973.

They begin playing outside of Germany (mainly in England) for the first time, supporting various English acts, while their track “Future City” hits the top 10 on several American radio stations. In the same year, Wolfgang Stocker was replaced by Luitjen Janssen. In 1974 it was recorded (only at night, as the Scorpions were recording “Fly To The Rainbow” at the same time and Rudolf Schenker agreed with Bornemann to take over the production of the Scorpions) and “Floating” was released. A year later, in 1975, Eloy released “Power And The Passion” (with Detlev Schwaar as second guitarist). At some point the first end in the long story of Eloy came. The reason lay primarily in the way the band worked, but also in its course, because only Bornemann continued to believe in Eloy as a band with atmospheres and phychedelic rock stature. In addition to the music, there were also financial reasons that led to their dissolution, as there were significant differences with the band’s manager, Jay Partridge. Bornemann couldn’t bear the thought of Eloy becoming a thing of the past and decided to rebuild the band with people who shared his vision for Eloy.

In 1976, together with Klaus-Peter Matziol (who gave Eloy new impulses), Jürgen Rosenthal (who, in addition to drums, also wrote the lyrics for the next three records) and Detlev Schmidtchen on keyboards and – while Bornemann had taken on the role of producer – Eloy became the most popular band in Germany. Their next album “Dawn” sold 150,000 copies in 1976, while “Ocean” reached 200,000 copies a year later, surpassing Genesis and Queen in Germany. After many technical problems, Eloy released a double live album in 1978 to great success.

Somehow we come to 1979, which was an important year for the group, both because they released their most commercial album “Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes”, which sold far better than “Ocean”, but also because it was the Eloys’ second appearance dissolve. This time the cause was not the music, but, in Bornemann’s opinion, the internal problems (regarding their ego) that Schmidtchen and Rosenthal had. In fact, they released an album together in 1978 called Ego On The Rocks. Bornemann failed to convince them, so he again looked for members with the same musical interests and philosophy.

Jim McGillveray was a very good drummer, well known in Germany and together with Hannes Arkona and Hannes Folberth they flanked Bornemann and Matziol as the Eloy of the next decade. Although it was difficult to maintain balance in the band and their views on music were different, with this line-up Eloy released “Colors” in 1980, “Planets” in 1981 as the first part of a unit, with the second “Time” in 1982. To Turn” (Fritz Randow returned to the position of drummer after seven years), “Performance” in 1983 and “Metromania” in 1984. Even before “Metromania” was released, Eloy broke up again. We’re talking about a legendary band that, despite all the difficulties, came back even stronger. Although there was no team spirit until 1984, the whole company worked very well. Many performances began primarily in Great Britain (some were recorded by the BBC), but also in the regions around Germany with great success. However, the contract with EMI ended there and so, in addition to the music, financial reasons also led to the final break between Bornemann and the others.

While Bornemann had begun to dabble in various productions and had believed that Eloy was a thing of the past, he met Michael Gerlach by chance in Berlin (when he was producing in a heavy metal band). In him he finds his friend, but also the man he has been looking for for years and who will support him in making his musical dreams come true. As a duo, together with many session musicians, they released “Ra” in 1988, “Rarities” in 1991 and “Destination” in 1992. The new era of Eloy is here. These records are very successful in many countries around the world and Eloy is gaining fans everywhere, even though their records were imported in these countries, which is much more expensive. Bornemann is surprised by this unexpected success and comes up with the idea of ​​a reunification project. At first he has a phobia about this whole project, but eventually he goes ahead with its implementation. Together with Gerlach they record two records alongside Klaus-Peter Matziol (bass), Hannes Folberth (keyboards), Hannes Arkona (guitar) and Fritz Randow (drums), on which they reproduce titles from earlier records. They released “Chronicles 1” in 1993 and “Chronicles 2” in 1994. The whole project worked very well and the very good sales went hand in hand with the good atmosphere that prevailed. In fact, Matziol returned to the band as a regular member and together they released Tides Return Forever in 1994, which they recorded alongside Chronicles 2. With this record Eloy returned to her classic, familiar forms and Bornemann himself compares it to “Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes”. Eloy are performing live again and are celebrating their 25th music anniversary with great success as all shows are sold out.

The line-up for the 1994–95 tour was:

Frank Bornemann – guitar and vocals
Michael Gerlach – keyboards
Klaus-Peter Matziol – bass
Steve Mann – guitars and keyboards
Bodo Schopf – drums
Bettina Lux and Susanne Schätzle – backing vocals/choir

In 1996 Eloy started working on the material for “Ocean 2” and after two years one of Eloy’s best records (definitely the best of the last 10 years), “Ocean 2 – The Answer” was released. Since 1999, all Eloy records have been re-released as part of a remaster project.

As a group, Eloy are pioneers and despite adversity that other groups would otherwise not withstand, Eloy have stigmatized the progressive scene and are not unreasonably considered the top band in the genre. Some in Greece are still waiting for a live performance, while Bornemann and his company continue to perform sporadically in Germany. Hopefully this will become a reality at some point.

All senses
the answer
the day of revelation

Ocean 2 – The Answer

Dimitris Petrovitsis

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